Before 'Smash,' 9 Other Shows That Were Supposed to Save NBC

From My Name Is Earl to Leno in primetime, a look at the at the shows that were hyped as hits for the last-place network

nbc_smash_banner.jpg

NBC

Can Smash save NBC? The fourth-place network says it needs the splashy, expensive musical series to be a big hit. ""We're in a pretty bad situation," NBC's entertainment director, Robert Greenblatt, told the New York Times last month. "We desperately need something to catch fire, and we hope this is it."

As desperate as Greenblatt sounds, Smash isn't the first show that's been tasked with "saving" the once-dominant network. For the past several years, series ranging from My Name Is Earl to The Event to a Betty White reality show have all been cast as NBC's last best hope. Here, a look at other series that were hyped as much-needed hits for the network—and how they ended up doing.

Presented by

Eleanor Barkhorn is a former senior editor at The Atlantic.

The Blacksmith: A Short Film About Art Forged From Metal

"I'm exploiting the maximum of what you can ask a piece of metal to do."

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Riding Unicycles in a Cave

"If you fall down and break your leg, there's no way out."

Video

Carrot: A Pitch-Perfect Satire of Tech

"It's not just a vegetable. It's what a vegetable should be."

Video

An Ingenious 360-Degree Time-Lapse

Watch the world become a cartoonishly small playground

Video

The Benefits of Living Alone on a Mountain

"You really have to love solitary time by yourself."

Video

The Rise of the Cat Tattoo

How a Brooklyn tattoo artist popularized the "cattoo"

More in Entertainment

Just In